ERP for Religious OCD: Mike’s Story

Scrupulosity Video Post

Jaimie Eckert

Published on Sep 14, 2023; Updated on Jan 25, 2024

Today’s guest post comes to us from Mike, an IT specialist from America’s midwest region. He’s a husband and father of one lovely preschooler and has struggled with OCD for at least 30 years. His biggest fears have focused on assurance of salvation–so if you can relate, you’re going to enjoy his story. Mike was a member of our group coaching family for some time, and is circling back around to share how much he benefited from ERP for religious OCD.

Thank you, Mike, for sharing your success story about ERP for religious OCD!

Hello reader! My name is Mike, and today I wanted to share my story of OCD/Scrupulosity and how my journey took me from a place of desperation without hope to a place of transformation and a life I didn’t think was possible. I believe that through several God-directed circumstances and people (like Jaimie), He would use the catalyst of ERP for religious OCD to bring this transformation. I want to share some of my story in hopes you can relate and know there is hope. 

I’ve struggled with OCD without knowing what it was for as long as I can remember. As a young child, I became obsessed with the thought that I had something stuck in my throat. I was terrified to eat. This would eventually lead to going to one of the major hospital systems in the United States, where they put me under and ran a scope down my throat to rule out something stuck. Sure enough, there was nothing there.

Religious OCD: The Battle Begins

The doctors told my parents that my problem seemed mental health-related and that I might need counseling. I was growing up in a time (the 1980’s-early 90’s) when mental health was viewed very suspiciously by our conservative Christian community. My parents didn’t think therapy aligned with Christianity, so they didn’t seek that help. Fortunately, with the assurance that nothing was stuck in my throat, and by God’s grace, I would start to eat again and overcome my fear of choking. Unfortunately, the relief would be short-lived, and I became obsessed with my salvation and morality in my early teens.

Did I cheat on that test? Did I kill that flower while I was mowing the yard? Did I put the Hallmark card at the store back in the wrong spot? Was I saved? Did I say the “prayer of salvation” correctly? Was I too proud to be saved? What about my sin? These and many more like them would become the themes of my life. Growing up and into early childhood, I tried hard to fix these issues. Rumination, confession, and reassurance-seeking were my primary compulsions. Sometimes these would be highly embarrassing and public. Like when I became convinced it was my fault that some of the flowers at my local big-box store, where I worked in the garden center, had died. I charged myself for them to relieve my guilt. Eventually, I confessed this to the store manager. It was humiliating.

On the Scrupulosity front, I would talk with my parents and numerous Christian leaders in my church about my salvation. No number of salvation prayers or talks would bring about lasting relief. I might feel better for a moment or a few days, but the doubt would come crashing back. In high school, life provided several exciting distractions that helped me cope. I was very successful at a couple of sports in high school and got a girlfriend. Having been home-schooled most of my life, this new attention was exciting and provided a great distraction that helped me from getting too lost in my OCD. It wasn’t until college that everything would finally start to crash.

desperate to overcome religious OCD

Desperate Salvation Doubts

Following my parent’s expectations, I went to a small Bible college after high school to pursue a one-year Bible certificate. As you might imagine, for a young college kid obsessed with his salvation, going to a small Bible college for an entire school year, away from his family for the first time, was one ongoing big trigger. My obsession with salvation became laser focused. I would read all the books on salvation I could find and hunt down my professors to talk to them about my salvation, desperate to “solve” this issue once and for all. The harder I tried, the more obsessed I became.

I still have an old Bible from my time at college. On the front cover is a signed confession by one of my professors where I accepted Christ. It reads, “At 11:00 AM on Friday, November 12, 1999 Mike confessed his trust in Jesus Christ, the Son of God, and expressed his belief that the blood of Christ paid for all his sin.” My professor signed it. I wrote this statement in the bible “I put my trust in Jesus Christ today and rest in His promise to save me and that alone even though I keep trying to say to myself I did something wrong or didn’t believe right I trust Christ.”

This wouldn’t bring any long-term relief. I would continue to doubt and obsess about my salvation. I would talk to more professors and try even more to solve this issue. If I could just solve it, life would be great. Fortunately, I have a very driven, achievement-focused personality. This drive to succeed kept me functional. I still passed my classes at Bible college (with good grades) and could outwardly function, but all joy was taken away. I struggled to make good friendships, and my time there was miserable. I was so relieved when graduation came, and I could escape a world where all I could do was obsess and try to compulsively get assurance of my salvation. One of my professors, I think it may have been the one that signed my Bible, relayed to my parents that he could help most people but couldn’t help me.

Searching for the Right Treatment

Despite what I see as a very dark time, I believe God used this time in several ways. First, one of the professors I would talk to about my salvation was the first to detect something else at work. He asked if I did other things obsessively. I realized that, yes, I did. He suggested I might have OCD.  Second, God used this time to help me get to such a dark place that I knew I needed more help. After this year at college, I would move back home, attend my local community college, and move back in with my parents. They helped me find a Christian counselor, and I was soon diagnosed with OCD. The counselor referred me to a doctor, where I was prescribed medication. These were some of the first steps in my recovery.

Unfortunately, this counselor, although very well-meaning, was not trained in ERP or how to deal with OCD. He applied a more general CBT therapy where we tried to talk through my fears and solve them. This seemed only to enhance, not remediate, my OCD. I would argue with him about my obsessions, and the sessions became a place for me to continue to obsess and try and seek reassurance. For those of you on this journey, you probably recognize that no amount of reassurance will satisfy OCD. You’ll always want more; you’ll always doubt.

fulfilling religious compulsions never brings lasting relief

Going Covert with Compulsions

The next few years of my life until graduation from a state school were difficult. Mainly because of my OCD, I would lose the serious girlfriend I had met in high school. Confession and reassurance cycles became too exhausting for her. I became depressed, and my grades suffered for the first time. Previously an “A” student, I barely passed or had to drop classes because I would have otherwise failed. I became involved at the church in my local college town and went down the familiar path of seeking out church leaders for help: different people, but the same results. I couldn’t find relief. It was at this point that my life took a turn. I was exhausted and barely functioning. It was here that my achievement-driven personality started to take back over.

I wanted to be successful. I wanted to get married and be successful in my career. So I stopped. I stopped confessing; I essentially stopped seeking reassurance from people. Instead, I brought it all internally. I started to exhibit the “Pure-O” (mental obsessions and compulsions) form of OCD. My obsessions and compulsions would mostly stay in my head, invisible to those around me. I became very “successful.” I worked to improve my grades and was able to graduate, and then I poured myself into my work. I quickly advanced in my career. I was making friends, and eventually, around age 30, I met my now wife. Like in high school, I found things to distract and excite me, keep me moving, and not be consumed with OCD. I kept my OCD in check from taking too big a hold by telling myself I would solve it later. I had visions of retiring or being in a nursing home where I would re-double my efforts and figure everything out, but for now, I would concentrate as best I could on work and marriage.

This strategy continued to keep me highly functional. I was great at hiding my OCD, but it continued to grow inside. My life was slowly but consistently being sapped of all joy and purpose. The internal obsessions and compulsions grew as the earlier excitements and distractions of marriage and career began to lose their initial excitement. Finally, after the birth of my daughter, I would again hit rock bottom.

Finally Facing the Beast

I had moved into “middle age” and was starting to wrestle with the purpose of my life, and even more, I was terrified I would be a bad father. I wanted to raise my daughter to know and hopefully follow Christ in her life. But how could I do this when I didn’t even know I was truly a Christian? I couldn’t put off solving my problems any longer. I had to re-engage. So, I did what I always did but more covertly. I used Google rather than a pastor for reassurance and answers to my doubts. The Pure-O form of OCD was taking over. I had great trouble concentrating at work and home. I was admittedly Googling and ruminating for reassurance and answers at both places when I should have been working or spending time with family. My mind was continually obsessing, trying to solve and seek reassurance, and looping again. It was like a terrible music album stuck on repeat into perpetuity. On the outside, I might be enjoying a fun event with my family, but on the inside, I was consumed by OCD.

hiding religious obsessions and compulsions

As a quick aside, I want to clarify that I wrestled with real-life (not imagined) sin in my struggle. I was far from perfect. I believe some of this sin was a coping mechanism to deal with my OCD, but it was still sinful. Sometimes in the Scrupulosity community, I see others that are seemingly near-perfect. Their stories are full of false guilt. I just wanted to let you know that I also had real guilt and shame. Real failure and actual sin. This only further muddled the situation for me. In case that is you, know you aren’t alone here either. It’s possible to grapple with sin and OCD. Know also that with OCD, it’s possible, in fact likely, you’ll laser focus on that sin rather than the grace and forgiveness of Jesus.

Finally, I couldn’t hold it in anymore. In what was probably a compulsive way, I dumped it all on my wife. I had told her about my mental health before marriage, but I was so good at holding it in and hiding it that she had no idea the level of my struggle after ten years of marriage. She was deeply concerned. Fortunately, she encouraged me to seek help. This would start a one-year journey to discovering ERP and eventually healing and a new normal I never thought possible.

ERP for Religious OCD

First, I started like I had in the past.

I looked for a Christian counselor and was ready to solve my issues.

I finally landed on an online Christian counseling service and was matched with a counselor. It was sometime during this period that I found Jaimie’s website (score one for Google!). From her site and other sources, I started to learn about newer OCD treatments and ERP. The online counselor I found took a similar approach to my old one. He meant very well, but he didn’t know OCD and how to treat it with ERP. I decided to cancel with him and put all my efforts into Jaimie’s online academy.

Jaimie wasn’t available for 1on1 coaching then, so I started with the academy and her group sessions. I could tell from the website that this was something different. This was someone speaking to my battles and understanding OCD, specifically Scrupulosity. Here I found a community of people I could relate with, dealing with many of my same problems.

I worked through the academy classes and met with Jaimie in one-on-one coaching. She started to suggest that I try ERP for my religious OCD. I learned that ERP was a therapy type unlike any other I had tried before. Instead of seeking reassurance and solving my obsessions, I would rather trigger my fears and learn to sit with the anxiety. It sounded terrifying! After further research, I was convinced to try it. This led to a second problem.

Finding a Therapist to Administer ERP for Religious OCD

I was convinced that I had to have a Christian therapist.

Going to a “secular” therapist never really crossed my mind. How could a secular therapist help me solve a spiritual problem? How would they understand the nuances of salvation and my beliefs? It seemed wrong to even consider.

However, as I started to search for OCD therapists specializing in ERP, I found that there weren’t many, let alone Christian ones, in my area. If I wanted to go to a reputable ERP therapist in my area, it would have to be the secular route. I had to make a decision. Was I going to continue to try and spin my wheels, trying the same things I’d done for the last 30 years, or was I going to try something else?

Out of absolute desperation, I decided I’d give it a go. I got up the courage to call and make an appointment. Unfortunately, the need for ERP is so great, and the resources are so few in my area that I was put on a 4-6 month waiting list. They would call me when it was my turn. It was a relief and discouragement all at once. On the one hand, I got to put off the ERP I dreaded. Maybe I could figure some things out before it started. On the other hand, 4-6 months seems like a long time when you are at rock bottom.

Fortunately, Jaimie stepped in to encourage me to keep going. We were able to schedule some 1on1 coaching. She suggested a book by Ian Osborn called “Can Christianity Cure OCD” and that I give it a read. This book would play a significant role in my healing journey.

In a nutshell, it tells the stories of many heroes of the Christian faith and (although not known at the time) their struggles with what is now known as OCD. This book tells a beautiful story of how people like Martin Luther and John Bunyan faced crippling OCD and overcame it through trust and faith in Christ. It also speaks of the biological and mental side of OCD and why ERP is so effective and essential. Finally, it shares how Christians have a secret weapon whereby they can apply their faith in the practice of ERP. I highly recommend reading it, especially when considering ERP as a Christian. It helped me prep for ERP, and I would experience first-hand how trust in Christ and the “therapy of trust” would help in my journey.

Starting ERP for Religious OCD

Fast forward several months, and I would finally get the call that it was my turn for ERP. I had grown so much through Jaimie’s academy and what I knew of OCD, but I needed ERP to help me get the victory. I was also petrified to begin ERP for religious OCD. I was assigned to a newer therapist in the practice who had just finished schooling to have his own clients. “Oh great, I thought. I’m getting a secular counselor that doesn’t know what they are doing.” I was tempted to back out or wait until the expected therapist became available, but in the next step of collective fear and faith (one of many), I decided to go for it.

the leap of faith with ERP for religious OCD

I began my journey with ERP for religious OCD. I went for one hour over lunch every week to meet with my therapist, Zach. Zach didn’t profess to be a Christian and, from what I could tell, didn’t have faith in Christ. How could this work? I described my symptoms, and I took an OCD test (called a Y-BOCS score) that measured my severity. I scored on the very highest level of moderate right before severe. Believe it or not, another severity level is called “extreme” after severe. Jaimie had told me that it could be a lot worse and that I was fortunate to be functioning; this comment was starting to resonate.

I had done much online research before I started, so I had a general sense of what to expect. We mapped out my fears and ranked them in severity from least to most. For instance, if your OCD obsession was that you would lose control and stab someone, talking about a knife might be a three on the anxiety of 1 to 10. Holding a knife might get you to level 10. The idea is to trigger your anxiety with your fears but start slowly at first and then build to your biggest trigger. When triggered, you must resist your compulsion(s) and sit with the anxiety until it naturally subsides.

This seemed straightforward, but it was a little more challenging regarding Scrupulosity and my form of obsessions and compulsions. It wasn’t as simple as holding a knife. Being afraid of hell and eternal damnation didn’t seem as straightforward.

Or was it?

Persisting with ERP

It didn’t take too long for me to think of triggers. I could read certain bible verses, read testimonies focused on the mechanics of the salvation experience, and listen to pastors that took a less-than-loving approach to the Bible. Youtube and Google were a treasure trove. :)

I also made my own. I created a script where I imagined my ultimate judgment after death. It wasn’t hard to get the anxiety; it was hard not to react to it.

My mission was to trigger the fear and not ruminate or seek reassurance. I was to sit with the anxiety. It was about as pleasant as it sounds. It was scary. It was uncomfortable. My anxiety initially got worse. After writing my script on hell in one of my early sessions, I got so anxious that I sent a panicked email to Jaimie. I was ready to bail and go back to “fixing” things. Jaimie encouraged me to keep going, and so I did. I remembered some of the stories I read online of other ERP sessions. One person was about nine sessions in and ready to quit when suddenly something switched, and the therapy started to work. I hoped it would be true for me.

Week by week, I would practice. I would trigger my obsessions and practice avoiding my compulsions. There were so many doubts during this process. Was this working? Did my therapist know what he was doing? Maybe I was different? Perhaps it wasn’t OCD? For a while, I just got a whole lot more anxious.

But somewhere during this process, things started to take a turn.

The more I faced my fears and didn’t respond to them, the less power they had. During this experience, I would lose the control I felt I had in myself. Here, what was described in Ian Osborn’s book started to take hold. I was losing the sense of control I thought I had through my obsessive and compulsive actions and instead was shifting that control to a growing faith in Christ. I couldn’t handle my fear, anxiety, and failures. Only Christ could. I could hold on to Him when I had nothing to grab onto, and he would prove himself faithful.

facing my fears with ERP for religious OCD

Where I Am Today

By the time I finished my ERP for religious OCD (around 4-5 months of weekly visits), my OCD had substantially dropped off. My Y-BOCS scores went from the highest level of moderate to the low end of mild (near subclinical). More important than a number, my life had changed. As I write this, I’m about seven months into my recovery. I’m practicing my faith without being gripped in fear and ruminating all day. I can teach my daughter about Jesus. My marriage is better. I’ve been able to move forward with a promotion at my work as my mind is no longer consumed, and I’m enjoying life.

Sometimes the seemingly little moments strike me as an accurate measure of my success. For example, recently, I was at the zoo with my family. Partway through the zoo, it hit me. I was in the moment, enjoying the animals and my preschooler racing around from exhibit to exhibit. I was thoroughly engrossed and enjoying it. My mind wasn’t on my obsessions. Living life like this wasn’t possible before. I don’t have some future in my mind where I need to solve this problem of salvation. Instead, I’m trusting Christ day by day to come through for me now and when I leave this earth to meet him in heaven.

I don’t want to give the impression that my life is now perfect. The truth is that I still get anxious sometimes. Stress from work, at home, or a trigger sometimes brings back anxiety. The difference is that I rarely respond to that anxiety obsessively and compulsively. In the rarer times, I start down that road; I quickly realize it, put my ERP back into practice, and get back on track. ERP continues to be the primary tool that keeps me on course.

Shortly after my initial recovery, I had an OCD attack on a different theme. It surprised me, but I recognized it and did some brief (but not compulsive) research online on how to apply ERP to that theme. I practiced it, and it was in the rearview mirror shortly after. ERP not only helped me recover, but it kept me recovering.

the victory of overcoming religious OCD

I don’t know where you are in your journey. Maybe you’re a teen or young adult. Perhaps you’re middle-aged like me or in your senior years and have suffered from OCD for half a century. What I want you to know is what Jaimie once shared with me. You don’t have to continue to suffer as you have; there is victory, and you (yes, YOU) can experience it. It will take work and courage, but it is SO worth it. I hope you’ll consider ERP for your religious OCD. I know it’s scary. But just like an insulin injection for a diabetic or a cast for a broken bone, ERP is a proven therapy to help you overcome your OCD. For nearly 30 years, I tried everything else without success. It wasn’t until meeting Jaimie and learning about ERP that I finally found victory.  

In addition to the incredible experience of overcoming OCD, I think it will simultaneously deepen your faith in Christ as it did for me and those in Ian Osborn’s book. If I can help in your journey with ERP for religious OCD, please feel free to comment below this article, and I’ll try to comment back and help in any way I can. When selecting an ERP therapist, I’d encourage you to check the IOCDF website for a therapist in your area. If they are also Christian (bonus!), but if they aren’t, don’t let it stop you from getting the treatment that could change your life.

Thank you so much for reading this. I’m cheering for you and praying for us on this journey. God bless!

Thank you, Mike, for sharing your story about how you’ve been helped so much by ERP for religious OCD! It’s an inspiration to us all, and especially for me and the group members who got to meet you personally during your time in the academy with us. We are all so proud of you–but more than that, we praise the True Physician for the work of healing He’s done in your life. Keep looking up and trusting Him!


  • I notice that everyone seems to be at the 7 week stage in ERP! When can you expect a breakthrough? Do you think there’s any value in sitting with the anxiety on your own? I’ve just been relapsing a little. I’ve written down what is right thinking about my fears and just use those noted to get my head straight, then on I go to next time. It’s not too bad I suppose. I manage. But perhaps I could cure myself by dwelling on it more, but that feels a little crazy!! No erp around here 😔

    Dear Maddie, I do hope you’re doing alright. God bless you x

  • Your story is so much like mine This has been a huge theme in my life for 25 years. It help just finally knowing what it is. I also had years of therapy with Christian counselors who were just arguing with the OCD Finally at the age of 62 I have some relief.

    Thank you so much for writing your story.


  • Thank you Mike for sharing your story! I can resonate with a lot of it.
    I have one question regarding ERP/giving up control.

    I'm trying to Figuren Out, what role does gaining a deeper understanding of Gods charakter, especially his love, plays in all of this. One the one hand I know, that I need to reframe my view of God. But when a obsession strikes, and I try to not respond to it but to give the responsibility up to God, I can get lost in trying to picture him accurately (especially loving) before I hand over my fears and obsessional.
    It just feels really unsatisfying and scary to hand over my fears to a God, that in that moment doesn't feel safe to me.
    On the other hand I feel like this way I am still engaging with the thought, feeding my brain the message, that it needs to respond. And maybe I am again making it to much of a Spiritual problem…

    I guess my question is, what does it look like to trust God in the midst of this, and what ist unhealthy reassurance seeking.

    Thankful for anyone that shares their thoughts :)

    • Trusting God is something I think most of us struggle with. By God's grace, there are days of victory, but also days where we will fall short and look inward. This goes a little to what you said about our view of God. God loves us despite our ability to trust him like we should. He of course wants us to trust him more and more, but he knows our weakness and will give us grace when we fall short. As far as unhealthy reassurance seeking I have found this chart really helpful in helping me determine if I'm getting into unhealthy reassurance seeking:

    • Debbie, congrats on working through ERP! I know it's tough but I'm hopeful you will also find it worth it in the end. Keep up the hard work!

  • thank you so much for writing this! I'm actually crying some! it was very encouraging I have been obsessively struggling with salvation since 13….

  • Thanks for sharing, praise God

    I really relate to your story. Me too I have a couple young children. I barely consider myself Christian, I try to believe but I’m wrestling with the ideas that I’m even saved. I have developed an obsessive compulsive pattern of « prayer » that isn’t fruitful and I realize it. I question if it’s even ocd or just because of my sin or rebellion. I cry out to the Lord all day asking Him to remove these headaches and strange sensations. It’s quite painful at the same time I’m trapped in compulsions fighting blasphemous and harm thoughts. Did you have physical pain or sensations? I have skin crawling all day and painful pressure. May the Lord keep you and bless your efforts.

    • Sean, I want you to know that I have had physical symptoms too. I used to have a brain fog so bad that it felt like a film over my brain and eyes. I also had bright flashing lights running over my eyes. And I also had exactly what you described with sensations in my skin. These are all just due to all of your OCD stress. You mentioned that you aren't sure if all of this is caused by your sin and rebellion or OCD I also had that exact idea! I'm here to tell you it is OCD! Hang in there Sean, I am doing sooo much better! I am functioning and enjoying life! You can too! Do all of Jamie's lessons, twice if you need to. Really practice. And do the ERP. You'll be better in no time!

    • Hi Sean! Prayer is a tough one that I've struggled with too. I haven't had the physical sensations but many others certainly have. Keep hanging in there and fighting this battle. Have you or are you able to try ERP therapy in your area? If you haven't yet and you are able, maybe give that a try. It might just be the tool you need to break free!

  • Oh Mike I think I’m your twin! And I don’t want to do erp or tell it all to a non Christian counsellor! Or anyone really. But thank you. And perhaps I might manage to before I die.
    It is a beast isn’t it!

    • Glad it resonated Bella. I know it's really, really hard and yes it is a beast! The victory on the other side though makes it worth it. I hope you'll continue to consider doing ERP!

  • Mike’s story was almost spot on for what I suffer with scrupulosity. It was affirming. I am planning to do more research, maybe read the book he recommended.

  • "Instead, I’m trusting Christ day by day to come through for me now and when I leave this earth to meet him in heaven."

    And you most assuredly will, Mike. God bless you and keep you (He will!). Thank you for sharing your story.

  • I writing this lying on my bed sweating and gripped with fear. I live in the uk and cannot afford to sign up. I asked Jesus to save me years ago but back slid and have come back but I have no reassurance im saved and I keep listening to sermons for reassurances..asking Christians for assurance asking Jesus for assurances but my anxiety is so bad I cannot even work or now barely go out. i have books thats ive bought but nothing is helping. o am on antidepressants and the drs are putting it down to going through the menopause years ago but the hrt not working. I am gripped with fear and feel I cannot go on. I cannot eat or even do my daily readings I hate my life and guilty fpr being so selfish. Ive asked God to help me over and over and over again but I dont feel any help. im doubting His word but I want to Love Him and Ive asked the Holy spirit in my heart but feel no different. I am terrifued. I will be haivg CBT in A few weeks but this isnt a christian person and they may even say to walk away from christianity but if I do then I I may end up in Hell as Im not sure Im truly saved ..Im desperate

    • Hello Maddie
      Snap! I’m in the Uk too, near Cambridge. Whereabouts are you? Hang in there! I just had a thought: Satan is a liar. Remember that. I’m just like Mike with specific sins to worry about that I fear would keep me out of heaven even though people tell me I’m forgiven. I’m late 60s and I get it about menopause. And being scared witless in the middle of the night. And not feeling God is there. And I backslid for 40 yrs. you are not alone!
      But listen to Jamie. If you’re like me you may recognise the thought patterns she describes as ocd and they are not the normal Christian life. Therefore you can dare to believe they are glitches and not true. And therefore safe to ignore. Because if you believe Jesus died for your sins and you have repented of them and feel that Godly sorrow, then he will save you. Your faith is so precious to him because it’s really serious! And here’s the truth, it doesn’t matter what you feel like, if those things are true, then you are saved and safe. We have to be determined and get into learning about our Christian walk and ruminate on that instead. Slowly slowly it gets better. I can recommend Mike Winger Bible thinker dot org. He’s on YouTube. Bless him he even answered me a question. He’s balanced and sensible. Have a listen. Lots of vids and podcasts. Good teaching. Steep yourself in something other than your Big Question. Assume it’s answered. Whether you believe it or not. If those things are true then it’s true! You are not winning by ignoring it. If you’ve been doing anything sinful, stop it and ask him to help you and if or when you fail (I do!) you know that you can ask again for forgiveness for that, which is fair enough, and not like re asking for old sins. and start again, clean. 1john 2. Jesus has got you.
      We still carry memories and sometimes it’s hard to feel forgiven because what Jesus did is huge!
      Lord I believe, help thou my un belief. That means believing is a decision.

      We can’t just swap details here but we could ask Jamie if she’d be go between and we could email if that would help.
      Do not despair.

      Jamie if we can help Maddie and you think it would work for us to be in touch, I have cautiously used a ‘hide my email ‘ so you can tell her what that is? And I welcome hearing from you Maddie if Jamie will do that for us please? Your plea just tore my heart. If I can help I’d be honoured to try. I think we could encourage one another.

    • Dear Maddie. Oops. Some typos in there. I said your not winning by ignoring your fears. I meant to type you’re not winning by ignoring them. Huge difference!
      Believe the right things about Jesus dying for you, and your repentance is sound, your response is to live for him the best you can, ( he talks about abiding and obedience but also the bible acknowledges we fail) then you’re safe. Absolutely refuse to worry about anything to do with that because that’s a glitch.

    • Myself, and I'm sure many of us here, can completely relate to that awful, gripping, sweat inducing anxiety you describe. I'm so sorry you're feeling that. Congratulations on taking a step of faith in CBT despite your gripping fears! Hopefully, it's CBT that will employ ERP as that is the kind that really works for OCD. Your therapist, regardless of their faith, absolutely should respect your faith. If they don't, I'd look for another one. I would say that's probably a rare scenario. They might not understand your faith as much, mine didn't, but he respected it and even tried to understand and learn about to better help me. God bless you as you move forward. Although you are in the storm now, hope still remains! God Bless!

    • Hi Maddie
      It’s mid October now and I wondered whether you’ve been back here. I’m in the UK and by the sounds of things of similar age.
      How are you feeling now? I can relate to not knowing how to carry in but then one day follows another and somehow you did.
      I wonder if this lady might also help, if Jamie will allow?
      Feelings lie, God is constant and promises he can be found by us if we really seek him
      Ps 139 tells us he’s every where (so he’s with you xxx) and he also promises to finish what he’s started with you Philippians 1:6, so he’s working in the background and you will mature into a relationship with him, just keep at it.
      Pray, and read the bible
      How to pray when you feel dry and bleak?
      I’ve recently come across the idea of a Prayer bible (see The Sisterita club, and Bloom Biblically channels on YouTube for good stuff). So you tab a bible page with a good verse, read it and then say it to God in prayer, turning the words round to apply to you and him, as a way of praying God’s will, He promises to answer such prayers, ie in his will. You can’t twist context, obviously, but after a while of reading about who he is and what he’s done and then thanking him for it, and other verses you find (see those channels for ideas) you will feel better, I assure you. Crazy simple truth ministries is another good one. (Nicki Drake)
      I’ve really enjoyed choosing favourite verses and tabbing them to find easily. Also a profitable distraction. I hope the idea appeals to you.
      God bless you and keep you Maddie, and that you will start to feel his face Shining on you, as Aaron’s blessing says

  • Hello Jaimie and Mike!

    Thank you for sharing your story with others! I knew from the moment I discovered Jaimie's website that I had OCD and now that I read Mike's story I don't feel alone anymore. Like Mike I happen to suffer from real life sins not like others so I always felt like an outcast in this OCD community, and part of these sins were I guess kind of caused by OCD; I would have the urge to cuss God and when I couldn't take it anymore I would cuss him out loud, I would cuss in a church , do blasphemous things because if I didn't do what my thoughts urged me to do it I would feel an overwhelming amount of anxiety, I was 15 then. Now 20 I am practising ERP by myself and because of Jaimie's blog I also resist seeking reassurance. I currently don't have the means or the money to go see a therapist but I am working on it. So I wanted to ask this question: I am currently unsure on how to confess some sins, I know I shouldn't go into too much details but I also know that I shouldn't leave details so how was it for you and mike to go to confession? In where I live priests don't really know about scrupulosity, even if I told them about it they would tell me it's nothing. So asking about confession isn't giving me a lot of anxiety as it used to do but I want to get advices from people who are suffering from scrupulosity on this matter, because I did some real life sins caused by OCD. To make it more clear; when I go to confession I question whether I should confess what kind of blasphemous thing I did where and when, for example : I said this and this or I reacted by using the middle finger at a holy place in front of that and I used that word in that place where there was… the list goes on and on. I could say I disrespected the Lord here and there but I am not sure if its the right way. So if you have any advices or have the time to respond to me I would be grateful.

    Thank you again Jaimie for giving hope to many OCD sufferers and thank you Mike for writing about your journey with OCD!

    • Pamela, I'm glad you could relate to the story! I don't have a priest I go to for confession in my faith tradition so I don't have exact advise for you there. Jamie do you have any resources to help here?

  • Wonderful story! I was actually hearing my life story. The problem is that I have been livingwith it since I was a young child and gone for treatment over and over. Nothing has changed it. The medication helps, but side- effects (slight head tremors). I'm in my elder years, just lost my husband in August 2022 and had been caring for him for several years. Monumental stress but so glad I did it for him. He was home until his death. OCD has plagued me non-stop and I would like to find peace before I die.
    Something that struck me that Mike touched on was Control playing a role. That explains so much for me. I had to be in control because of internal fear that was in my life growing up and still plays a role in my OCD. If MIKE FEELS COMFORTABLE EMAILING ME THAT WOULD BE WONDERFUL.
    Jaimie, please send me any information you can offer. Thank you so much

    • So sorry to hear of your husband's passing :( It sounds like you were a blessing to him to the end. I'd be glad to have Jaimie connect us.

  • Hello!! Thank you for sharing your story of overcoming PCD through ERP. I think I struggle with two basic fears:

    1.) That I realize the cost of Christianity and turn back.
    2.) That being open and completely honest with people in my life about how much I struggle will cause them to walk away.

    I am about 4-6 weeks from going to an intensive OCD program in Wisconsin. Any help would be great!! Thanks!!

    • Congrats on taking the next step with your OCD program. It could be the real breakthrough you've needed. I'm afraid of letting a lot of people in on my struggles as well so can identify. It takes time and trust to be able to share with those around us. This we can be certain of, Christ knows all our struggles and loves us unconditionally and will never walk away. So regardless of what others think of us, the Savior of the world will not abandon us and even better, loves us!

    • Yo those 2 fears are the EXACT same as mine; this website is crazy. Michael I really hope and pray that God pulls you up out of those 2 fears, especially #1. I’ve been wrestling with it like every day for the past half year and I am just inconsolable over it. No one around me seems to understand it except obv you (and Jaimie).

    • Hey Nancy. I started ERP about 7 weeks ago. It is hard sitting with the anxiety as you said. But so many people say it has helped them and it is the way to go. Best of luck to you. just wanted to let you know you're not alone right now sitting with anxiety.

    • Sitting with the anxiety is SOOOOO hard. I don't like it either. But with practice it gets better and then it results in real freedoms in life you have never experienced. Once you find those freedoms, I'm confident you'll find the hard part well worth it! Keep hanging in there!

  • Mike,

    I just want to say thank you for sharing your story, what a wonderful testimony! I also struggle with OCD and like you, after years of just managing life but not fully living I finally hit “rock bottom” to the point where we (my wife was very instrumental here) sought out behavioral treatment (I had been on SSRI’s medications for years but they only can do so much) aka ERP. What a blessing as ERP truly works (but you have to really commit to the process). The treatment is quite simplistic but very challenging as it’s the opposite of what your “OCD” brain tells you should do. I pray and encourage you to stay strong on your treatment and also implore others struggling with this insidious condition to seek help in the form of ERP as it can be truly life changing; just have to stay the course no matter how much mental anxiety you feel the early part of treatment (especially during the early part of treatment).

    Chad (another Christian dealing with the condition of OCD)

      • Great job Rhonda! Yes I remember being around that time in my treatment. It was rough. But there is light at the other end of the tunnel. Keep persisting you can do it!

    • Thank you Chad and thank you to our wives that helped push us forward toward help! I agree that ERP is so important. It's the only thing that's brought real change for me. But it is hard and it takes persistent dedication. The results though, are totally worth it in the end.

  • Hi Mike!! I am a 20 year old woman and I have OCD about my salvation and pure O with untrue thoughts about God. Your story is amazing. Will you please pray for me?

    • I'm glad its and encouragement. That was the age things got really hard for me, but there is hope. Had I known about ERP and other treatments back then, I'm confident I would have been on the road to recovery much faster. If you can look into ERP therapy I'd highly recommend it. I will certainly be praying for you!

  • Thank you Mike! I have had OCD since I was 8. I didn't know I had OCD but for almost 50 years I hid the compulsions from everyone. I didn't know they were compulsions I just thought I was terrible christian, always angering God. I'm now 57 and I am about 7 weeks into ERP therapy. Right now I am actually doing the ERP script on me going to hell. It's awful. Your post came at the right time. Just today I was crying asking God to please help me as I also struggle with feeling God has abandoned me. I did get a little tickled about the Hallmark cards, I still do that! (I just think it's courteous 😊.) But thanks again. I hope to be able to write such a post one day. God bless you in your OCD journey.

    • Haha, glad someone could relate to the cards :) Week 7 in therapy is hard and doing a script on hell is hard. Give yourself grace as you are doing really hard things and be proud of how far you've come. Keep pushing each day. You can do it and there is victory to be had at the end! God bless Rhonda!

      • I keep coming back and reading your story to help me continue with this ERP on hell. My therapist is online so he gives me my ERP homework and I have to do it by myself. So rereading your story helps me keep keeping on. God bless you Mike.

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